Part Three: The Elgin Marbles in London "Quod non fecerunt Gothi, hoc fecerunt Scoti" "What the Goths did not do, the Scots did here"
Graffiti , Athens 1813

It was January 1804 when the first 65 cases arrived in London, where they remained for two years because Elgin had been imprisoned in France.


The maltreatment which the Marbles suffered was unavoidable. They were placed in the dirty and damp shed and grounds of Elgin's Park Lane house and remained there for years, decaying in London's damp climate, while he tried to find a buyer.

Elgin made attempts to sell the Marbles to the British government but the price he asked was so high that they refused to buy them. As the years passed, so the Marbles influenced the lives of people in Britain. Churches, buildings and houses were built in Greek classical style.

In a letter written by Elgin in 1815, he admitted that the Marbles were still in the coal shed at Burlington House, decaying from the destructive dampness.

Finally, in 1816, the Marbles were sold to the British government and were at once transferred from Burlington House to the British Museum, where a special gallery was eventually built for them by Sir Joseph Duveen at his own expense.

In December 1940 a Labour MP, Mrs Keir, asked the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill whether the Marbles would be returned to Greece in partial recognition of that country's valiant resistance to the Germans and the sacrifices of its people. The answer was negative. At the time that Mrs Keir tabled her question, there was a large number of letters published in the Times favouring the return of the Marbles to Greece.

In 1941 the head of the Labour Party, Clement Attlee, who was a member of the wartime coalition government, replied to Mrs Keir's question, saying that there was no intention to take any legal steps for the return of the Marbles.

Part 1:
The construction of the Parthenon
Part 2:
The stripping of the
Part 3:
The Elgin Marbles in London
Part 4: Contemporary comments on the looting
Part 5:
British views on the return of the Marbles
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